“ Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us. ”
matthew 1.23 (nkjv)
can i admit…
that i am tired.
weighted, won, worn, and wonder.
that i get angry often now, redemptive and self-righteous,
that toes the line and sometimes rests on one side or the other.
secrets swallow selves and the salve of salvation;
i know too well. i live them, actually.
praise is slow on my lips,
when quick to mind are thoughts of loss
for his sake or for i lack —
i toe the line and sometimes rest on one side or the other.
i can’t be sure.
shackled to the prison named shame,
but chain me to the lamb.
dare i venture into pain (perseverence, character, hope)?
walk forth into light, lightlessness…
utterly at a loss,
locked in a coffin.
not me! roll away the stone.
and so i live.
“ a gospel which is only about the moment of conversion but does not extend to every moment of life in Christ is too small. a gospel that gets your sins forgiven but offers no power for transformation is too small. a gospel that isolates one of the benefits of union with Christ and ignores all the others is too small. a gospel that must be measured by your own moral conduct, social conscience, or religious experience is too small. a gospel that rearranges the components of your life but does not put you personally in the presence of God is too small. ”
sanders, fred; “the deep things of God: how the trinity changes everything” (p. 106)
decisions are a weird & weighty thing. or they can be weighty, because i make countless decisions on a day-to-day basis without even thinking (blink, breathe, …). but i guess i’m talking about the weird & weighty ones, the ones that are life-altering and prompt existential crises.
a particular set of words that crystallized my faith way-whenever and words that i consider profound, having led me to life-saving-ness, can be found in isaiah 53. if you read it, it’s rather heavy & scary & intense.
but what strikes me is that “[h]e was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before its shearers is silent so he did not open his mouth” (v. 7). God is not so weak that humans killed him. rather, he chose it.
he may have asked for the cup to pass, but he chose to drink from it. how much more is that a decision! some see it as weakness, but i see weakness in my inability to muster decisions to life-giving obedience.
decision is not without faith, though. maybe that’s where i make the wrong turn. a decision presupposes the faith-reason of the Lord himself, not of my fallible emotions and thoughts.
i would’ve opened my mouth & gone back on my decision (i think of the honesty of one student who humbly admitted, “if there were a gun to my head right now, i would denounce my faith”). well, thank God i am no savior. he went before me; he made that decision. and i am able to share in the “light of life and be satisfied” (v. 11).
sometimes when i let my mind dwell on things past, i sink into some deep thoughts. i don’t want to act as though it doesn’t matter, but i also don’t want to act as though i am crippled. it’s so messy, sitting in the transitory tension between earth and heaven. everything and nothing, all at once.
love is fickle when left to my devices, and i wonder if how best to love is to return. redemptive love is beautiful, if i allow it. but is it giving up to or controlling (which is not love at all)?
anyways, i’ve been thinking a lot, which i haven’t been doing a lot of in the past year. most of my thinking has been concentrated into the past month or so. which is great; i feel alive, more so than it’s been in awhile, which means the hope that my faith may morph into three-dimensions, because i’ve been flailing around with a paper cutout belt, breastplate, shield, helmet, and sword, so, needless to say, if you imagine me dressed up as such, it’s been ineffective for battle. (such a cycle of sin, sorrow, death, belief, joy, peace, etc)
this faith thing is difficult, even when surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. “by faith” is not for the fainthearted, but that is exactly what i am when i say, “i can’t, i can’t.” even when God places the coal to my lips or bids me to remove my sandals. what has he with me?
it’s been almost two years now, since God led me to a burning bush when i didn’t ask for it, and since then i’ve experienced doubt, cynicism, and bitterness, metallic and smooth to the tongue and taste. maybe that’s present tense, too, as i shake myself to delirious joy.
to return…maybe that’s the healing i am still in need of.
well, here i am, and it’s been too long. my eyelids are drooping, the warmth of the night is pressing down, and i am ready to sleep. but my mind’s a-buzzing and i figure it’s about time i return to my abandoned, neglected blog.
i’ve determined that my lack of blogging is a symptom of something. perhaps it’s the busyness of the day-to-day — but no. that’s a sad excuse even if it is accurate.
i find myself standing in a place where some days i don’t mind where i am, and some days, i just want out. i also find it hard to be honest nowadays. i just want the realness of me and the rawness and childlike shamelessness of faith in jesus. i feel as though i’ve been settling for shallow when what i desperately need is deep.
i’m at a loss for words often and as i stare at the clutter and explosion of my worldly possessions scattered around me (i recently moved from one apartment to another), i wonder.
let me pause and move from abstract stream of consciousness to concrete facts about what has been happening with me:
each of these deserves a lengthy post and lengthier conversation, but, whew, i’m glad i’ve got it out there. i feel out of touch with almost all of the decisions above that have been made and need to be made, and i need some grounding.
what do i funnel, chug, sip, gulp, guzzle? man, i’m so thirsty.
what with deadlines & the concrete nature of my job, i’ve lately been practicing thinking in the abstract. the flurry of tasks, action items, and thingsto dohas impeded my ability to exercise my mental capacities to think creatively, abstractly, and fluidly.
when i stare out the airplane window, i see clouds. but i’d rather live in the imaginative — not in the sense of a dream that will never be reality, but in the visionary sense that sees the light hit the fluff in the way that makes me understand that His goodness & greatness is most apparent against a bleaker background.
i am reaching a point of plateau; i’ve come to understand my surroundings better than i have in the year and a month since my move to the leading ginseng producer in the states (yes, wisconsin is the leading ginseng producer in the united states…for some reason this is the most apparent fact in my mind at the moment). but, let me scrutinize, and i don’t actually think i’m on a plateau.
i am astounded, but maybe numb (have i been put under?) to the [heart-]knowledge. sadly, the answer may just be yes, if the Lord had not reached in & massaged my cold heart and coaxed it back to life. not in the flesh-sense, but in the spirit-sense. and when cultivated, spirit-renewal brings me to live constantly in the radical center, where heaven and earth overlap.
lost, and found, again. “and the LORD did this” (exod 8.24).
i really ought to try harder at blogging. my writing muscle is flabby.